Time for a change to brutal elk hunting policy | Letter

Humanity disappoints yet again.

On Friday, Dec. 4, a brave “hunter” fearlessly stalked (for 10 feet or so) a fierce (semi-tame) bull Roosevelt elk, in the deep, dark, dangerous wilderness (two minutes from downtown Enumclaw in a rural residential area), and clumsily killed him. This poor animal, now wounded by a very poorly placed shot (as verified by Fish and Wildlife officers), stumbled around, increasingly unable to stand.

We were forced to watch him suffer and writhe in pain for approximately 60 minutes after he went down. He slowly bled to death. The largest bull in the herd that had been sleeping and eating 150 feet from our home for the prior five hours with his herd of 30 other elk, was slaughtered while he lazed and grazed without fear of humans.

If you think bow hunting is humane we are here to testify that it is not. It is not a quick death and the animal does suffer. We watched it. This is not hunting. This is slaughter, especially considering that these animals in our neighborhoods are not truly wild.

We have witnessed this unskilled killing go on for years. Thoughtless locals chasing semi-tame elk up and down fence lines until they collapsed from stress. The same people showing up at the door trying to look for an elk on our property that they had wounded and not killed. We are sick of the slaughter and total absence of concern for both the animals and the animal loving people who live among them.

Is this the kind of grotesque hunting display you want your children to see as you drive near the pasturelands that surround Enumclaw? Let’s forget the elk for a minute, and ask the question: is it even safe for our children, livestock and pets to have so-called “hunters” trying to kill animals in our community where we live?

We believe it is time to move the hunting boundaries off of the Enumclaw Plateau. If you agree, please let your representatives know about the slaughter that takes place in our rural neighborhoods and the need to move hunting out of our back yards and place it the wilderness that exists just a few minutes east of town.

We do not like hunting, but we respect the privilege to hunt. Please respect our concerns by not forcing us to witness it where we live.

To watch this travesty occur in our front yard was emotionally devastating to us. The alleged hunter needs to know that those horrific images he placed in our memories will haunt us forever. Thanks a lot.

True thanks are due to the three Washington State Fish and Wildlife Officers who responded to our situation in a timely, thoughtful and respectful manner. This hunter’s story fell apart under scrutiny from the officers. It was evident that they truly care for the wildlife and simply are forced to deal with the thoughtless people who give a bad name to the majority of hunters who at least hunt wild animals with more integrity, away from populated areas.

We realize that model would take effort, a modicum of skill and respect for the animals and the “sport,” as opposed to driving up to the animal and trying to kill it as if it were in a zoo.

All of the food, fencing and pasture damage arguments are very easy to logically refute with facts, exposure to existing programs, and available and effective wildlife mitigation measures. To refute facts concerning personal and professional responsibility, and respect for wildlife and the folks they peacefully try to live among, is much more difficult.

David and Kelley Ward